Fire destroys Somaliland wholesale market

A huge fire has destroyed the central market in the capital of the breakaway Somali region of Somaliland.

Fierce flames tore through the Waheen market in Hargeisa late on Friday 1st April. Store owners and traders are thought to be devastated as they have lost everything.

The flames took firefighters several hours to bring them under control, with officials saying they still haven’t confirmed the cause of the blaze.

More than two dozen people were injured but no recorded fatalies.

Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi visited the scene on Saturday, and promised that his government would release $1 million (€0.91 million) to help with the emergency response to the blaze.

Hargeisa’s mayor Abdikarim Ahmed Moge said the town has “never witnessed such a massive calamity,” and made an urgent appeal for help. He said: “This place was the economic center of Hargeisa and even though the firefighters did their best to contain the fire, the market is destroyed.”

Hargeisa Chamber of Commerce chairman Jamal Aideed said the loss of the market was immense as it accounted for 40 to 50% of the city’s economy with around 2,000 stores.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Somalia said the blaze had affected thousands of people, including migrant workers and pledged to work with the authorities to help people recover.

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